Notable achievements all round

Haunui Farm at Karaka 2018

The New Zealand Racing Hall of Fame recognises notable achievements and one of its biggest supporters, Haunui Farm, is busy creating its own.

Haunui Farm is truly one of the proven stayers in the stud ranks with almost 60 years of success in the breeding and racing industry, including four Group One winners (Perfect Fit, Jon Snow, Melody Belle and Singapore Gold Cup winner Bahana) and over 50 stakes performers off the Karaka farm in the last three years.

And by the time the Haunui Farm clan of Mark Chitty, his wife, Sara and his parents, Ron and Carolyn Chitty, sit down to celebrate the latest inductees into the NZ Racing Hall of Fame at Hamilton’s Skycity on February 9, it’s an odds-on bet there will have been more celebrations within the camp.

 "It’s always an exciting time of year with the Karaka Million then the National Yearling Sales,” said Mark Chitty, who took over managing Haunui Farm from his father in 2001.

"Then there’s the Hall of Fame to look forward to this year. That’s when we’ll get to sit back, relax and appreciate what they (the Hall of Famers) have done.

"It’s the history of racing, the horses and the people, that make this a great industry and they deserved to be recognised. That’s why we’re happy to be involved.”

Haunui Farm and its syndicate of stallion shareholders donated two services apiece to its shuttle sires, Elusive City and Showcasing, in 2010 and 2016 respectively, with proceeds going to the NZ Racing Hall of Fame. At the 2016 dinner Haunui Farm also co-sponsored the inductee Seton Otway, the founder of Trelawney Stud and responsible for standing champion sire Foxbridge.

"We sponsored Seton Otway with Marie Leicester,” recalled Chitty. "That was easy to agree to as both our family’s foundation broodmares were by Foxbridge. In fact, we’ve got two direct descendants of our foundation mare, Foxona, in the sales this year.

"In Book One we’ve got Lot 415, who is a seventh generation of the family and Lot 117, the eighth generation.”

Lot 415 is an Iffraaj colt from the unraced mare Moselle and Lot 117 is a filly by Showcasing from the unraced Zabeel mare Colombelle. Updates to the pedigree include the wins of Matchbreaker (Gr.3 Wellington Stakes) and Celebrity Dream (three Listed wins in Perth).

But before Haunui Farm puts its first yearling through the Karaka sale ring this year, Chitty hopes to see the stud play its usual part in the Karaka Millions.

For the past four years there has been a Haunui Farm connection to each of the Karaka Million winners. Vespa (2014), Hardline (2015) and Xiong Feng (2016) are all by Haunui Farm sires, namely Elusive City, Showcasing and Iffraaj respectively, and last year’s winner Melody Belle was bred by Marie Leicester and reared and sold by Haunui Farm.

Showcasing also sired Showmeyamoneyhoney, the runner-up to Xiong Feng two years ago, and he again looks set to be a prominent player in Saturday’s $1 million feature with She’s A Thief, Nirvana In Fire and Boy Next Door, while Imelda May is a daughter of the ill-fated Haunui Farm sire Ferlax and was sold by the stud.

"Hopefully we can do it again,” Chitty said. "It’s a fantastic meeting this year. They’ve brought more Group racing to the evening. It’s New Zealand’s richest race meeting and it’s good to showcase it in front of an international buyers’ bench.”

It’s then on to the New Zealand Bloodstock National Yearling Sales, which start on Sunday.

The sales will again attract the leading Australian trainers and owners and all will be familiar with the two Derby winners Gingernuts (NZ Derby and Rosehill Guineas) and Jon Snow (ATC Derby), both sons of Iffraaj.

Multiple Group One winner Turn Me Loose was the first major boost for Iffraaj in Australia, while the unbeaten Melt (born and raised at Haunui Farm) has led the way for him on the juvenile front in New Zealand this season.

In fact, when Melt impressively won the Gr.3 Barnswood Farm Eclipse Stakes (1200m) at Ellerslie on New Year’s Day she led home a trifecta for Haunui Farm with both runner-up Bit Lippy and third-placed She’s A Thief being by Showcasing.

Iffraaj and Showcasing finished first and second respectively on the NZ 2YO Sires List in 2015-16 and they are again at the top this season with Showcasing leading the way. Iffraaj was also the top of the NZ 3YO Sires List in 2014-15 and again last season, heading off the champion Savabeel to whom he finished second in the NZ Sires Premiership and is again the closest pursuer for that title this term.

"It has been a phenomenal few months for both stallions, in particular Showcasing, who is flying at the top of the two-year-old table,” Chitty said. "He has got three of the top six or seven two-year-olds in the country.”

One of those smart youngsters is Xpression, who was co-bred and is part-owned by Haunui Bloodstock. She became Showcasing’s second winner of the Gr.3 Wakefield Challenge Stakes (1200m), following on from Showboy, the sire’s first Group winner in the southern hemisphere when winning in 2014.

Xpression also became the third stakes winner for Showcasing within three weeks with another being the Gr.3 Steward Handicap (1200m) winner Carnival.

"It’s certainly exciting for us to be heading into the yearling sales with two stallions that are really performing,” Chitty said.

Haunui Farm has 46 yearlings heading to Karaka with 27 in Book 1, 14 in Book 2 and the remaining five in Book 3.

"We’ve got 19 sires represented, including obviously a good spread of Iffraaj and Showcasing progeny,” Chitty said.

"The Snitzel colt, the first foal of the Brisbane Cup winner Floria, is a good, strong colt who should attract a lot of interest and the Not A Single Doubt half-sister to Melody Belle is a lovely filly who should sell well.”

Matauri, a daughter of Ocean Park and the Group One winner Calveen, provided a late boost to her half-brother by Shooting To Win (Lot 85) when charging home to win on debut at Avondale on Wednesday. – NZ Racing Desk.

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